Vanderbilt Tops Louisville in Overtime 73-68 11-29-03

Vanderbilt Tops Louisville in Overtime 73-68 11-29-03


Vanderbilt had to work overtime for the second time this year in just four games, but managed to hold off a tough Louisville squad 73-68 to pick up its 13th consecutive Vanderbilt Tournament title.

Senior Jenni Benningfield was named tourney Most Valuable Player after a 34-point, career-high performance, including a lay-up with just 5.1 seconds to go in regulation to force overtime. Her 34 points moves her past former Commodores Ashley McElhiney and Jillian Danker (both in attendance tonight) for 17th on the career points list with 1,146. Vanderbilt improved its mark to 4-0 this season in front of a rowdy Memorial Gym crowd of 1,273.

Benningfield, from Louisville, Ky., scored seven of Vanderbilt’s first nine points to establish her dominance immediately. However, the Cardinals answered back under the leadership of freshman forward Jazz Covington, who had 15 points and four rebounds in the first half. Covington finished with 27 points, six rebounds, and a perfect five-for-five from the charity stripe to lead the Red, Black and White. Cardinal guard Sara Nord would pitch in with two three-point buckets in two minutes. She finished with 11 points and was one of three Cardinals in double figures. Her efforts ensured that Louisville’s three-point streak continued; it now stands at 356 straight games.

Louisville would go on to lead by as many as nine before Vanderbilt answered back with a 12-0 run covering 4:06 late in the first half. Benningfield had nine points in the run, sparked in large part by four critical Cardinal turnovers. Vanderbilt went into halftime leading 33-31.

The second half became a shootout with Covington, Benningfield, and Commodore forward Hillary Hager leading the charge. There were five ties and six lead changes throughout the final 20 minutes of play. Benningfield battled inside where the Commodores outscored Louisville in the paint 36-24. Hager hit all 17 of her points after halftime and nailed five three pointers, including a crucial one to pull Vanderbilt to within two at 2:30 to go in the game, tying a career high.
Down the stretch, Louisville guard Jessica Huggins, who finished with two points, hit a lay-up with just under two minutes to go to put the Cardinals ahead 64-60. Benningfield then hit two straight baskets to force overtime. In the bonus session Louisville attempted seven shots, in comparison to Vanderbilt’s two, but made only one. Free throws by VU guard Dee Davis and forward Hager would seal the win for Vanderbilt 73-68.

The next outing for the Commodores will be this Thursday, December 4, against New Orleans at Memorial Gym. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. Central Time.

– VU –

Princeton Defeats Samford 84-58 in Consolation Game

Princeton took advantage of 18 Bulldog turnovers and shot 52% for the afternoon to defeat Samford 84-58 in the consolation game at the Vanderbilt Tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

 Both teams came out of the locker room ready to play as Princeton raced to a quick 13-11 advantage with 14:12 showing on the first half clock.  A long three-pointer by Bulldog guard Sarah Clement gave Samford back the lead at 15-14.  The teams remained close throughout the next seven minutes of the foul-filled opening stanza, trading the advantage back and forth until a Lindsey Harris three for Samford put the Bulldogs up 28-24.  Princeton drew back in front by one point with 5:49 left at 29-28 and held a 40-36 lead after a jumper by Kelli Hughes.  A three-pointer by Katy O’Brien gave the Tigers a 43-36 lead into the halftime break.  The two squads exchanged the lead 16 times over the initial 20 minutes of action, while combining for 23 personal fouls. 

 Princeton stretched its advantage to 14 out of the break following an O’Brien deuce and two free throws to take a 50-36 lead.  A trey by the Tigers’ Elyse Umeda pushed Princeton in front by 18 with approximately 15 minutes remaining and another triple, this one by Katy Digovich, gave the Tigers firm control at 58-37.  Princeton cruised down the stretch leading 76-49 with about five minutes left before settling for a 26-point win.

Princeton vs. Samford
Saturday, November 29, 2003
Post-Game Quotes

Princeton Head Coach Richard Barron
“Samford played a great first half. They ran the same offense as we did and ended up giving us somewhat of a clinic on execution. In the second half, we hit our shots. We were 52% from the field, so it was a tale of two tapes. We shot the ball well, moved the ball, and had fewer turnovers. Everyone contributed for us.”

On Sophomore Becky Brown:
“Becky [Brown] had a great first half. We got out and ran a lot, pushing the ball up the court out of baskets and turnovers. She only ended up with 20 after 17 or so in the first half, but her post presence opened up outside shots for us.”

On Freshman Casey Lockwood:
“Casey [Lockwood] scored 13 points on just 7 shots, with 13 minutes. She and the other freshmen will be key for us in the future. We have the momentum now and look forward to our next game versus Lehigh.”

Princeton Forward and Nashville Native Becky Brown
“It was great being here today. I know lots of people in town and everyone has been very supportive of me. It was a fun game overall. I heard Samford was going to be here and I’ve played some of them in high school. It’s a good rivalry and I am glad they got to play us.”

Samford vs. Princeton Vanderbilt Tournament Consolation Game
November 29, 2003

Samford Quotes

Coach Mike Morris

“This was by far our worst effort of the season.  Princeton had a lot to do with that, because they are a very good team and played very well.  We didn’t have the energy and effort to match theirs today.” 

Sophomore Guard Chelsee Insell

“We came out and didn’t have a lot of energy and they did.  They made shots early and we never caught up.”